The Straits Times
Published on Sep 20, 2012

Merkel, Hollande forge tight if tepid bond to fight crisis


BERLIN (AFP) - The leaders of France and Germany, who will meet on Saturday to mark a watershed 1962 speech by Charles de Gaulle to German youth, have forged a pragmatic bond against the odds for the sake of the euro.

When Mr Francois Hollande took office as French president in May, allies feared the partnership at Europe's heart would be marred by friction due to differences with Chancellor Angela Merkel on the way out of the crisis.

However the two leaders now say they have found a way of working together commensurate with the relationship De Gaulle sought to forge after his pivotal address in then West Germany 50 years ago.

"The French president and I cooperate well - that does not mean it cancels out the conflicts of interest that we have had over the last 50 or 60 years but what counts for me is the atmosphere in which we find solutions," Mrs Merkel said on Wednesday.